Are you new to airsoft? You might be overwhelmed at the prospect of buying a new rifle so this guide will help you take your first steps to starting out. Matt’s video covers all the basic info you need to start playing so be sure to check that out before anything else.
If you want to go straight to selecting an airsoft gun, check out the My First Airsoft Gun link. We took the headache out of the process and have pre-selected several guns that would suit new players. These are all Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs) which are battery powered. Almost all of the larger guns in airsoft will be AEGs which means you simply power the gun with charged airsoft batteries. All of these guns are built to perform well for any player. Internally they all have adjustable hopup units to improve range and metal gearbox, and metal gears to increase durability. This is the bare minimum to look for if you want a halfway decent performing airsoft gun. Rest assured that at Fox we carry only quality items so you do not have to worry about the guns meeting these requirements.
When you have the gun you like pulled up, you can save up to 20% off essential items by selecting the add BBs, battery and charger to your purchase option on the right of the product page. As mentioned in Matt’s video, simply having a better battery will give you a better overall experience and improve the performance of any gun. A quality battery will last nearly twice as long between charges as one of the batteries that comes with some guns. You'll also get many uses out of it - most of these batteries are lasting between 2 and 3 years with regular use before replacement if maintained and care for properly. If batteries are misused or not taken care of, their life will be much shorter. Part of taking care of your battery is having a smart charger rather than a standard wall charger. Having a smart charger will take the guesswork out of charging batteries. A Smart Charger will charge your battery much faster - typically in less than 2 hours. It also will detect when the battery is fully charged and automatically shut off. This will prevent battery damage. One more important consideration is to make sure you purchase is quality BBs. Having good quality BBs will ensure your gun will perform flawlessly. Using low grade BBs found in large sporting goods stores will jam your gun which will cause expensive internal damage.
To learn more about how to use your first airsoft gun, scroll down or CLICK HERE
If you have any questions, feel free to call us at the shop at 1-888-316-7816 or click here to fill out our contact form.
- Where do you play airsoft?
- What type of BBs do you use?
- Why are some airsoft guns more expensive? Aren't they all the same?
- What is a good gun to get?
- What is hopup? How do I increase my range?
- How long do I charge batteries?
- How do I clean my gun?
- Airsoft Fields
- Paintball/Airsoft Hybrid Fields
- Special Event Locations
- Private Land
- Other areas may be used as well - consult local law enforcement for specifics on your region
Airsoft can be played at many designated airsoft fields or hybrid paintball/airsoft fields around the country. There are also special large scale multi day events that take place all over the country. Airsoft can also be enjoyed on private land or some other areas depending on your local laws and regulations. If you plan to play outside of a sanctioned field, make sure to contact your local law enforcement agency to ensure you are complying with all local laws.
In airsoft we use 6mm BBs. 6mm is the diameter of the BBs. These BBs come in a variety of weights, but we do not change the size/diameter that we use. For any airsoft gun to last long you should use good quality 0.20gram or heavier BBs. This will allow you to take advantage of your guns power and potential for accuracy by giving it a more stable and consistent flight.
Good quality BBs such as the ones we carry possess good manufacturing tolerances, meaning they are a consistent round shape and perfectly smooth. Low quality BBs are often found in sport good and large chain stores that do not specialize in airsoft guns and sold for very cheap. They are typically under 0.20g in weight, commonly found in .12g. These are cheap, mass-produced BBs that do not have a uniform shape to them. The seams and imperfections in these low grade BBs can potentially damage an airsoft gun by causing a jam. When you have a jam, you must clear it out before attempting to fire again, otherwise you risk damaging your gearbox which leads to costly repairs.
When starting out, you can use a 0.20g as it is the least expensive. We recommend you start at a 0.25g and then adjust according to your preference after you play a bit more. We feel 0.25g is a good weight for all guns regardless of performance level. Heavier BBs like 0.28g or 0.32g BBs will be less susceptible to wind deflection but your guns velocity will go down and your BB will travel noticeably slower. Airsoft sniper rifles that shoot much harder than an AEG will often benefit from 0.32g or heavier weight BBs. Do note that the weight of the BBs does not affect your range by any meaningful amount. If range is important to you, a gun that shoots hard and has its hopup tuned properly will satisfy that.
There are two types of BBs: regular and bio BBs. Most if not all the time, you will be using regular BBs. These are less expensive than bio BBs. Bio BBs are biodegradable, meaning that once the packaging is open and these BBs are exposed to the elements, they will degrade over time which is environmentally friendly. Some fields, particularly outdoor fields including our field Flat Acres Farm, require BBs. If you have an open a package of Bio BBs that has been sitting for a long time, be sure to check their smoothness before using or skip using them altogether. For a visual guide of what BBs to avoid, read this.
The first piece of advice we have to offer is that if you are looking to play airsoft on a field and have a good time, you will want to avoid the types of airsoft guns and BBs you would find in a big chain store. Those guns are generally lower quality, have a short lifespan, and designed more for casual plinking at targets. In comparison, a quality gun is designed to be fielded for active play, can be serviced, and has a much longer lifespan . Think of something disposable vs. something meant to be kept. We want you to enjoy your journey in this amazing sport, and it starts with a quality piece of equipment.
The reason why big stores offer what they do is because they do not specialize in airsoft and do not have trained staff to sell the higher end equipment. They will sell what is easy for them to sell with relatively little information or customer service specific to that product.
That is the number one question we are asked. Rather than tell you what model to get here, let's start with what you want to do and then what to look for. You are just starting out, obviously, but do you want to start modest and work your way up? Do you want something very durable from the start because you feel you will be really into airsoft? After you figure that part out, there are three key areas to look at for a new gun: the body, the internals, and product support.
The bodies for airsoft guns can be made of polymer, heavy duty nylon fiber, or various types of metal. You can get a very durable polymer body gun for a very good price or if you want more realism, metal may be the way to go. At the same time, while going polymer will save you money, one hard fall or extremely rough usage might destroy the body whereas a metal body can take more punishment.
The gearbox, also known as the mechbox or what we call internals for an AEG, is the heart of the gun. Although you cannot glance inside and see this part at the store or through a website, this is what dictates how your gun performs. Most starter grade guns have decent quality internals and shoot anywhere from 330 to 400 feet per second (fps) measured on a .20 gram BB. The better guns might shoot a little bit closer to the 400 mark out of the box, run more efficiently, and have a higher rate of fire. The gearbox in the low-end guns we mentioned earlier are often made of plastic or poorly cast metals that will not survive sustained use that you will put it through when playing in a skirmish.
The last important piece of the puzzle is product support. Buying reputable name brand products from reputable airsoft retailers will give you less headache in the long run. No name or off-brand products are usually made to lower quality control standards with no support behind them to keep the costs down. You may save a few bucks just to get a new gun in your hands but if your gun has a problem you won’t be able to find help from the manufacturer (if you can even get in contact with the manufacturer). This is a common issue in guns with a lot of proprietary parts. You are almost guaranteed to have to scrap it or custom make your own parts to return it to working order. Having good product support means it is made to good quality standards and if you have issues, both the store you buy it from and the manufacturer will be able to address your needs and correct the problems within a reasonable time.
Hopup is a component that interacts with the BB as it exits the chamber enters the barrel. It produces backspin which increases the overall range of your airsoft gun. Without hopup or with hopup turned off, your range is limited strictly by power and you will see the BB drop drastically after shooting. Some of the less expensive or unique guns will have no hopup or fixed (non-adjustable) hopup. AEGs have adjustable hopups unless it is a very low end gun.
Most hopup units in AEGs are hidden to preserve realism. To adjust hopup on a gun you will typically pull back the charging handle to expose the hopup unit. Once visible you should see a wheel or dial. This dial adjusts the hopup. One direction will be off and the other direction will be on. The adjustment is very fine so shoot and adjust little by little until the gun achieves the desired trajectory. You will know the hopup on your gun functions properly when you turn the unit all the way on and you see BBs curve up toward the sky after you shoot. Once you have adjusted your hopup so that your gun shoots at a relatively flat trajectory, adjust your sights to match where your BBs are impacting.
Using different weight BBs will affect your trajectory and adjustments. Be sure to adjust the hopup to the weight BBs you will be using and readjust if you change weights or if the dial is wandering.
Before we get into charging batteries, first we must correctly identify what type of batteries you will be using. At Fox, we offer NiMH and LiPo batteries. Let’s assume for now you are using NiMH batteries.
Generally speaking, the best batteries for beginners are NiMH (nickel metal hydride) batteries. These come in 8.4v (7-cell) and 9.6v (8-cell). These will perform well and are not hard to maintain and use. Some higher voltage batteries will power your guns a little bit better but will also introduce more wear and tear. Sometimes the upgrades in your gun will necessitate using a higher voltage battery. Generally speaking, NiMh batteries will not wear out your gun that fast and are a safe battery to use. LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries will deliver better performance but take a bit more understanding and care to use. This will be covered in advanced guides later down the road.
Now on to chargers. Be sure to use the right charger with your batteries. Some chargers can charge multiple types of batteries so be sure to select the correct setting to match your battery. Some are simple wall chargers AKA trickle chargers that have no electronic cutoff.
If you have a standard wall charger, charging a battery to full requires doing a little math. Find the charger’s mAh rating (milliamps per hour) and the mAh capacity of your battery. Divide the capacity to the charger’s mAh to determine how many hours to charge your battery to full. Do not overcharge the battery, otherwise it will become damaged and possibly explode. If the battery pack gets hot to the touch, unplug it immediately. Smart chargers have a built-in automatic cutoff so you do not have to fuss with math and charge times. For another insightful visual guide on charging, click here.
Cleaning your gun is very simple. The only preventative maintenance that needs to be done on an electric gun is to clean the barrel. Simply take a gun cleaning patch or a small piece of a cotton t-shirt, put this on your cleaning rod that came with your gun, spray some 100% silicone spray on it and run it down the barrel to remove grime and dust.
Once complete, run a dry patch down the barrel to ensure that the barrel is COMPLETELY dry. If you do this after every time you play, you will keep your gun in top notch condition.